Episcopal Relief & Development Celebrates 75 Years of Healing a Hurting World
Episcopalians, friends and partner agencies around the globe are joining together to celebrate Episcopal Relief & Development’s 75th Anniversary. The 75-week celebration, which will continue through the end of 2015, invites supporters to learn more about the organization’s programs and get involved in campaigns to raise $7.5 million to sustain its vital work.
In 1940, the National Council of The Episcopal Church established Episcopal Relief & Development – originally the Presiding Bishop’s Fund for World Relief – to respond to the needs of European refugees fleeing World War II. Now, working on behalf of the Church with partners in nearly 40 countries, the organization continues its legacy of bringing together the generosity of Episcopalians and others to help communities overcome challenges and create lasting change.
“At this milestone anniversary, Episcopal Relief & Development is celebrating 75 years of healing a hurting world, together with our partners and supporters around the globe whose contributions of time, talent and treasure have made this work happen,” said Rob Radtke, the organization’s President. “Each year, more than 3 million people participate in innovative, locally led programs that boost harvests while protecting the environment, prevent diseases by mobilizing local volunteers and empower people to build livelihoods through financial and skills training. It is a joy to be part of the community of people whose efforts support this life-giving work.”
Led by a volunteer Steering Committee and an Honorary Committee co-chaired by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and her predecessors, the Rt. Rev. Frank T. Griswold and the Rt. Rev. Edmond L. Browning, the 75th Anniversary Celebration provides many opportunities to engage more deeply with Episcopal Relief & Development’s programs and get involved in promoting and sustaining the organization’s work. These opportunities are detailed in a special web section at http://www.episcopalrelief.org/75, which also includes a social media hub around the celebration hashtag #AllHands75, and an interactive historical timeline.
One of the cornerstones of the celebration is a traveling photo exhibition, which features 33 iconic images of Episcopal Relief & Development’s work, along with in-depth explanations and personal reflections through an accompanying e-docent app. Having previewed at Executive Council in June, the exhibition officially launches at New York City’s Cathedral of St. John the Divine and continues its national tour with stops in Denver, San Francisco and Cincinnati. Other venues are being confirmed.
Similarly, the organization’s 75 Stories Project provides a window into the programs, events and personalities that have shaped the last 75 years and are changing lives today. Individuals and groups are encouraged to offer reflections and stories through the Share Your Story page, and inspire and energize others to join the celebration.
“As the Chair of Episcopal Relief & Development’s Board of Directors, I am honored to have personally witnessed a deepening in both the organization’s impact, through the strategic integration of programs that address poverty, hunger and disease, and its ability to engage and energize supporters across the Church and the wider community,” said the Right Reverend Robert J. O’Neill, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado. “I invite everyone to join in the celebration of what we have accomplished together over the last 75 years.”
Episcopal Relief & Development has created a variety of resources to help individuals, congregations, dioceses, schools and groups to join the 75th Anniversary Celebration. Worship and prayer resources build awareness and solidarity with the organization’s partners worldwide, and faith formation materials can spark multi-generational conversation about global needs and what each person can do to help. Additionally, five campaign toolkits provide easy-to-use informational leaflets, images, videos and creative ideas to rally communities around a specific issue, or support the organization’s overall mission.
- 75th Anniversary Campaign: Lasting solutions to poverty, hunger and disease
- Carry the Water Campaign: Clean water, hygiene and sanitation
- Fast to Feed Campaign: Sustainable agriculture and livestock
- Thrive to Five Campaign: Maternal and child health
- Pennies to Prosperity Campaign: Vocational training and micro-finance
The overall goal of the campaigns is to raise $7.5 million by the end of 2015. Downloadable toolkits are available on the organization’s website to help individuals and groups to invite their communities to make a 75th Anniversary contribution and join the celebration.
“Episcopal Relief & Development is one of the foremost outward expressions of faith for Episcopalians, and one of the best examples of what we can accomplish when we join with our brothers and sisters in the US and internationally to strengthen communities and create a thriving future,” said Dr. Catherine George, Chair of the 75th Anniversary Celebration Steering Committee and former Episcopal Relief & Development Board Member from the Diocese of New Jersey. “I think this is great cause for celebration, and I am excited be leading the efforts to honor Episcopal Relief & Development’s 75th Anniversary.”
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